Vitamin B12 and the Protein Conspiracy

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If you’re a vegetarian/vegan, you’ve probably been asked this question approximately eight million and ten times: “Where do you get your protein?”

 

If you’re not, allow me to ease your mind: Vegetarians/vegans do not spend all their time hopelessly seeking out sources of protein. Stuff is everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Continue reading “Vitamin B12 and the Protein Conspiracy”

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3 Days, 3 Quotes: Day 3

Good morning cats and kittens! Today we’re rounding off the book tag as nominated by Jordan Bates – check out her Day 3 post for good measure. She gets real about depression and anxiety for Day 3, which is something we could all stand to talk about more. As she puts it, let’s make sure that others know they’re not alone. Continue reading “3 Days, 3 Quotes: Day 3”

3 Days, 3 Quotes: Day 2

So that amazing artwork that you see there is the Golden Trio reimagined, by peaceofseoul who is incredible.

Setting aside incredible artwork, we’re on day 2 of 3 Days, 3 Quotes, as we were nominated by Jordan Bates (here’s her awesome Day 2 post). And for today, it’s a Ron quote:

“‘I’m not going to take any rubbish from Malfoy this year,’ he said angrily. ‘I mean it. If he makes one more crack about my family, I’m going to get hold of his head and —’ Ron made a violent gesture in midair.”

We chose this quote not because we endorse violence, even in the fictional realm (unless you’re using it against Ramsay Bolton, then it’s all fair game), but because Ron is one of those characters that puts up with a lot more than he should have to. Poor Ron, he has it rough in his own universe and even rougher in ours. In HP he’s the sixth son of a poor family who’s best friends with the most famous baby survivor in the world and who eventually marries the top witch of every age. In our world he’s inexplicably hated by fans and the screenwriters/directors of the movie adaptations. We love him for exactly the reasons that (we think) people hate him: he’s vulnerable, emotional, self-conscious, and he lashes out sometimes at the wrong people and in the wrong ways. He’s relatable, in other words. His flaws are so easily recognizable because we all have those ones. We think some people see him and are repulsed by the uncanny mirror image JK Rowling wrote into this character, and others, like us, just kind of ache for him. But it’s all good because he survives and makes the most out of his life, and we’re pretty sure if he were real he’d just laugh at the haters because he faced his insecurities while they were magically welded to a piece of Voldie’s soul and he won, and exactly how many of us would have been able to do that?

We’ve all been where Ron is in this quote – we’ve all dealt with some bully or another who built themselves up by trying to tear us down. We’ve all felt that frustration. And while we shouldn’t Oberyn Martell those people, it’s OK for us to take a stand in culturally-acceptable ways.

Today we nominate some awesome chums:

All The Space Between

Words and Whatnots

SyedaFR

THE RETURN OF SHANNARA

Three doesn’t watch this show or read the books so it is I, erm, the humble thief. Proceed.

The Shannara Chronicles has been renewed for a second season which, I suppose, is a good thing. The evolution of Bandon (a decidedly show-only character) was actually interesting and unsettling to watch, at the very end. It also mirrors Brooks’ tendency to explore the battle between good and evil in any particular character, which is always more interesting than just accepting that demons are demons and their only goal is to ruin everyone else’s day. My favourite take on this from Brooks is the Knight of the Word series, and Nest Freemark in particular. I would LOVE to see that one adapted live action, and I do kind of think an MTV series would be a decent medium to get the job done.

But there are no plans for that so more Shannara is going to have to suffice.

Another thing I enjoyed about the season finale was the show admirably not balking at turning Amberle into the Ellcrys, so I got to see the hero-moment I’d been waiting for since reading the book at age 13 or so. Eretria got to be a hero too which I was very happy about, because she was pretty useless in the book.

But now Eretria is with the trolls, and has seen something shocking which we will have to wait until next year to discover. I’m not interested. I don’t remember the trolls from the book, apart from the time they showed up to help my queen Wren fight the Federation in The Talismans of Shannara which would also make a good live-action show/movie. But not on MTV. Sorry.

I know what happens in the future concerning Will and Eretria and I’m almost positive that we’re nowhere near that yet, so season 2 won’t be Wishsong. But maybe season 3?

If season 2 isn’t beholden to book plot at all, I have no idea what to expect. Still, I am mostly convinced that it will actually turn out better than season 1 since there won’t be the book conveniently sitting on my bookshelf, ready to help me make all of those comparisons which turn out unfavourably for the show because high fantasy, it is not.

Which is, again, why Knight of the Word would have been the better choice for a Brooks adaptation. I’m sure MTV is listening.

3 Days 3 Quotes Book Tag: Day 1

Morning! We’re doing a round of 3 Days, 3 Quotes starting this morning. Thank you to Jordan of  Words… I Need Words for tagging us. Make sure to check out her wonderful blog!

Rules:

  • Thank the person you nominated you
  • Post a quote for three consecutive days
  • Nominate three new bloggers each day

erm nominated me (three) to pick the first quote, and I’m going with an old favourite:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from  here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where – ” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“-so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

This is, of course, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol. Continue reading “3 Days 3 Quotes Book Tag: Day 1”

Brave

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Last week, we talked about masculinity in Brother Bear, and how the movie manages to have a sincere discussion about masculinity without making a joke out of the whole thing.

This week, in honour of Mother’s Day, we’re going to talk about Brave – which is just as much about womanhood as Brother Bear is about manhood, and, inexplicably, also just as much about bears.

Brave is generally considered to be a Pixar dud, which we think is unfair for our own specific reasons, as well as our more general bias about Pixar films. We like them, don’t get us wrong (excepting the Cars franchise), but while Brave may not have the cleanest plot like some others we could mention, its underlying themes work for us way more than those of some of Pixar’s biggest hits. Mother-daughter relationships, a coming-of-age story that’s realistically about coming-of-age, and the underlying importance of family do it for us. Toys in existential crises about children growing up… don’t.

But we can’t argue that the film doesn’t suffer from story problems. It’s pretty obvious. It had trouble while it was in development with it’s director and writer, Brenda Chapman, fired in the middle of production for creative differences. Erm, who is a sucker for behind-the-scenes stuff, watched everything she could find on the making of this movie and came away still none the wiser about what specifically went wrong, but that’s OK. We’d rather engage with the movie as it is than try to critique the movie it might have been. Let’s start by defending it against some of the more dubious complaints we’ve heard.

Number One: Merida shouldn’t complain/make selfish and irresponsible decisions. Her complaining about being forced into marriage and wanting her freedom is invalid because every once in a while she doesn’t have to be a princess, and also she’s privileged.

Being forced to get married is a good enough reason to do something rash, when you’ve tried arguing and you’re not being listened to. And this is true no matter how privileged you are or how often you get days off.

Number Two: Bears.

Yes.

Number Three: The male characters are exclusively used for comic relief.

… so?

Female characters are typically used only for certain things, like love interests, prizes, goals, villains, temptresses, or simply as naked, dying, or dead bodies. Forgive us if we’re not concerned that the men in this movie are not as integral to the story as Merida and Elinor are – because that’s all that’s happening. The male characters are important, if mostly good for a giggle, and there’s genuine warmth to Fergus at least.

Number Four: Exploitative of Scottish people.

We don’t want to be insensitive because there are certainly some stereotypes here and some jokes that didn’t need to be included. We’ve all seen Pixar movies, yes? We know they’re capable of being smart. Making a joke that is ultimately, “Haaaaaaaaaa Scottish people are Scottish” is beneath their creative capabilities.

But.

Having seen the behind-the-scenes footage we know that there was a lot of research put into this, and it seems as though the filmmakers went into it with a lot of respect. This isn’t the Siamese cats or the black crows or Peter Pan’s Indian tribe. It isn’t even like Aladdin, where the characters and setting are vaguely Middle Eastern but the actors are all white people, who occasionally put on accents. These are lovable, fleshed out characters playing on a beautifully crafted stage, played by Scottish actors. So apart from everyone’s tendency to have cheap laughs at kilts and haggis, we’d argue that the film is for the most part respectful.

The unique things we love about Brave

Mothers, Daughters, Families

Brave is the only Disney or Pixar fairy tale about a family. Everyone loves to complain that each Disney fairy tale hero is missing at least one parent, but Brave is the fairy tale movie that breaks the rule.

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Not only does Brave tell a story about a family that starts together and ends together, which, if you think about it, only makes sense in a genre intended for all ages, but it is the only example we can think of for a fully Mother-Daughter narrative in animation.

Forget animation, actually. While we aren’t entirely lacking mother-daughter films, the ones we can think of that we’d recommend are sparse: Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya SisterhoodOne True Thing, Dolores Claiborne, Mermaids, Stepmom, and Freaky Friday. Maybe this is because we need to be watching different movies, but stories about mothers and daughters seem to be in short supply.

Divine is an emotional roller-coaster – worth the ride, but we relate to that Jann Arden song “Good Mother” so while we very much like the movie, it doesn’t get under our skin like Brave does.

One True Thing and Stepmom are about dying mothers, which is a different thing.

Dolores Claiborne is amazing, but it’s more about women than it is about mothers and daughters. Also it’s horrifying.

Mermaids has a lot of angst going on, and someone makes a choice later on in the film with major familial consequences, so it’s a similar story to Brave.

Freaky Friday is the ONLY truly lighthearted one! It’s similar to Brave in its suitability for younger audiences, its exploration of a mother-daughter relationship where they both learn to empathize with each other and communicate properly, and again, angst.

Now there’s at least a smidgen of romance in each of these, except Dolores Claiborne, which again is more about women than it is about mothers and daughters. Brave’s lack of romance means that Merida and Elinor can focus 100% on their relationship with each other.

Like in Brother Bear, the transformation into a bear impedes communication between Elinor and Merida. However, in Brother Bear, it requires a magical transformation back into a human in order for Kenai and Denahi can work things out. In Brave, it’s while Elinor is a bear that she and Merida are able to communicate properly. Merida implores on several occasions for her parents, particularly Elinor, to listen to her, and they don’t. Although Fergus sees eye to eye with Merida on many more issues than Elinor does, it’s not from listening to his daughter, but from their similar personalities. In the climax of the film, he rides off to kill Bear!Elinor, and Merida shouts at him to listen – and he does not. It takes her standing in his way, twice, with weapons, to stop him. In Elinor’s case, their arguments frustrate her because she believes Merida doesn’t listen to her, but in this case “listen” does not mean effective communication, it means compliance with everything she asks her to do. Merida won’t do this, because she does not want to, quite rightly.

When Merida does her speech at the end, successfully ending the brawl without any help from Elinor, this is also Merida finally reaching out to her mother. Elinor, too, is finally listening. She sees Merida about to agree to her betrothal, and even though she can’t speak (or roar), she frantically mimes her way through the rest of the speech – and she and Merida communicate freely for the first time, despite all of their obstacles, and come to a compromise on how to handle the situation.

Ultimately in both films, the bear transformation is an effective metaphor for the challenges people have with communicating in these important relationships. In this movie, it was also the motivation for Merida and Elinor to finally effectively communicate.

Romance Does Not Exist

There was a time when Merida was to be the great lesbian hero of the Disney-Pixar world, but that time has passed and we’ve moved on to Elsa. It’s a good thing, too, because we are in dire need of at least one princess who isn’t interested in who she’s going to marry (or who she’s going to be romantically linked to, for those princesses who don’t decide to get married right away). Merida’s fixation on staying single, keeping her freedom, and her reiterations of, “I’m just not ready” and, of course, “In fact, [the princess] might not ever be ready,” suggest that she could be asexual, or aromantic, or both.

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She does say later, during her pacifying of the Lords speech, that the Queen wants young people to be free to find love in their own time, but as we have learned from Disney movies of late (this one included), love comes in many more forms than just romantic love. In any case, here’s to Merida not getting married. Even though we all liked Young MacGuffin.

The dogs aren’t cute

We suspect they’re instead historically accurate. Which is nice.

The Coming-of-Age Story is more like what growing up actually is like

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Obviously it’s not a completely realistic coming-of-age story, but Merida’s teenage angst and eye-rolling and stubbornness remind us of being teenagers more than Elsa’s character arc in Frozen, for example, or Simba’s in The Lion King. This is probably because some heavy stuff is happening to those characters, so the way they come of age is not going to resemble an ordinarily bumpy transition to adulthood. But Brave is refreshing because of this – despite (and because of) the magic happening around her, Merida has to grow up and take some responsibility.

Brave GETS how coming-of-age and mother-daughter relationships are linked for girls.

If you are a woman who grew up with a mother, at some point or another she probably taught you how to survive as a woman living in a man’s world. Whether we think it’s right or wrong, women have to operate within certain rules, or at least be aware of those rules when we purposefully go on to break them. We learn that from the female role models in our lives, and in Brave, Merida learns from Elinor.

In the throne room, the men get into a brawl. Elinor sends Fergus to deal with it, and he ends up resorting to violence when his attempts to pacify the men fail. Merida and her mother sit there, visibly fed up, as the men fight.

Elinor stands, and walks through the room. The men all stop and stare at her sheepishly. Merida looks up, visibly noticing the power her mother has at this moment.

The lesson here is simple, and familiar: Women are expected to repress every violent or emotional instinct. Men are not.

Elinor teaches Merida this lesson every day – her brothers get away with murder, she doesn’t get away with anything. A princess is a role model. A princess is compassionate. A princess does not chortle. A princess does not stuff her gob. A princess does not place her weapons on the table. A princess should not even have weapons, in Elinor’s opinion.

Before we get all up in arms like the clans here, let’s take a moment to consider whether the movie thinks this is right or wrong.

On one hand, yes, the movie does seem to believe Elinor. Look at what happens when the ladies do resort to violence – Merida hurts her mother by cutting the tapestry, and Elinor hurts Merida in kind by burning her bow.

On the other hand, although Merida is held responsible for nearly causing a war and turning her mother into a bear, she does eventually get what she wanted: Her freedom to break the Woman Rules.

Merida walks through the brawling men just like her mom. And when she can’t make them listen, she takes a note from Fergus, and screams, “SHUT IT.” And it works! Because Merida is not her mother, and she’s not a perfect princess. But she is a powerful, responsible young woman who is capable of simultaneously embracing her role as princess and breaking the rules that prevent her from being who she is- a wild-haired marksman who wants to stay single and let her hair flow in the wind as she rides through the glen firing arrows into the sunset.

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The only problem we have: Bears.

We’re not really sure what’s going on with Mor’du. We understand that he is a legendary prince who ruined himself, his family, and his kingdom by being selfish, and by going to a bear-obsessed witch for help. But we also know that he’s behind the Wisps summoning Merida to the same fate, and later summoning her to mend her own bond and, conveniently, get Mor’du killed and free his spirit.

It seems kind of mean to trick a sixteen year old girl like that just to get a bear killed. Why didn’t he instead go after Fergus if he wanted the bear killed so badly? Was that what he was trying to do all along, but Fergus doesn’t believe in magic so he had to mess with his wife and daughter, who do?

And how is it that he’s both Mor’du and the power behind the Wisps? And why isn’t he just a regular bear? He should have lived out his lifespan by now if it really is an ancient kingdom as the legends say, and at least some of those wounds should have slowed him down. Why does he seek out people to savage and hang around his old throne-room when it’s implied that should Elinor remain a bear forever, she’ll just be a regular bear which will sever the bonds she has to her family?brave-disneyscreencaps.com-9861

When Elinor goes full bear she does become a danger to those around her. First, she attacks Merida, but only when Merida taps her on the back, which you would never want to do to a real bear for obvious reasons. Later she attacks Fergus, who is a real threat to her, but her interactions with Merida are fairly harmless. When she begins to lose herself for the final time, she just lays there letting Merida hug her until eventually she changes back. There isn’t a consistent metaphor about loss of humanity here, because we don’t have a clear definition of a binary. For example, with bear-Elinor’s violence, we only see it twice, and on two occasions we see her tolerate Merida’s presence, which means violence is not linked to the animal, with non-violence linked to the human, as it normally would be.

The only common thread is that bear-Elinor doesn’t know that she is Merida’s mother, or Fergus’s wife. And even this goes both ways: Fergus refuses to listen to Merida when she tries to explain to him that his wife has been transformed into a bear. Elinor remaining a bear is framed as being tragic not because she’ll be a vicious killing machine like Mor’du, but instead because she will lose her family, and her family will lose her.

That makes sense. We still think they could have portrayed this a little better.

We’re asked to take for granted Mor’du’s existence and actions and we suppose that we can – perhaps the bear-witch’s spell was a little bit different for the prince than it was for Merida. But the only information we’re given is that the witch is just inexplicably obsessed by bears, and every time someone asks her for a spell they do so in such a way that, happily, she can just perform the one spell she knows and everybody magics into bears.

We needed Sitka’s silent wisdom or something, so that we could understand what the significance of bears is in particular.

The only thing we can think of is the “mother bear” thing, and Elinor certainly fulfills this stereotype. As much as it’s Fergus who wants to revenge himself against Mor’du, it is ultimately Elinor who kills him, and she only does this to save her daughter.

Ultimately, our only problem with the movie is the bears. Even though it didn’t need to be bears, or they could have more thoroughly explained why it had to be bears, there’s enough depth in their use to excuse their presence in this film, excessive and confusing though it may be. Despite its flaws, this is the first Pixar film with a female lead. The second Pixar film with a female lead is Inside Out, and it’s worth noting that these two movies are also the only Pixar films with a story that would provide catharsis for the audience and not the creators. Not to knock Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, or Ratatouille, but these are stories about parent figures, special people, and prodigies. Although Brave (and Inside Out) has parent figures, the lesson is that they need to give their child room to grow and be themselves – and shouldn’t that be the entire point of children’s literature?

 

Clarice from It Takes Two Appreciation Post

So It Takes Two was one of those movies that happened. Re-mem-ber?

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We, being sisters close in age, were fascinated by this movie exactly until The Parent Trap (the Lindsay Lohan version) came out. But we were still loyal enough to it to pick it up on DVD. Rewatching it we discovered that there really isn’t a reason to watch this when you have access to Parent Trap after all. But we do need to talk about Clarice. Whom we ABSOLUTELY ADOOOOOOOOORE.

Continue reading “Clarice from It Takes Two Appreciation Post”

Can you spot all the confirmed fan theories in Game of Thrones: Home?

We’ve said it twice and we’ll say it again: We’re excited about EVERYTHING this season except the Greyjoys. They are the absolute worst. (Other than the Boltons, but that should be implied at all times)
Here’s some excellent ASOIAF reading material to get all caught up on your fan theories!

mynerd obsessions

I know you think I’m going to focus on the main confirmed theory, but of course I’m going to save that for last.

Lyanna

OK so maybe this wasn’t a fan theory, but we don’t know a whole lot about Lyanna that hasn’t be told to us. In the first book we hear stories from Robert that make her sound like a sweet virgin that was attacked by a spoiled prince. Ned’s memories are tinted by grief and shrouded by mystery.

So we finally get to see Lyanna and witness for ourselves that she’s not some simpering lady that would get taken advantage of. Instead she’s a fierce woman like Arya and doesn’t seem like someone that would need much help.

Maybe then we’ll get R+L=J confirmed next week. Lyanna seems more like someone that would let the world burn around her to be with the one she loves. I…

View original post 1,175 more words

Brother Bear

Iiiiiit’s  Disney copy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Having watched Ice Age so unnecessarily much lately, we felt it was time to talk about one of the movies in which Disney just hits the nail on the head when it comes to deconstructing masculinity because as we discussedIce Age is pretty much exclusively about men and manages to be really weird about it.

So Brother Bear.

“The story of a boy who became a man… by becoming a bear.”

Yikes, that’s kind of clunky. And it’s the last line in the movie, so, double yikes.

We may as well get a bunch of stuff out of the way before we praise this movie, because it isn’t The Lion King. Which is to say, it has flaws. Continue reading “Brother Bear”

The Jungle Book

erm saw The Jungle Book this week and has some thoughts! This is a good thing. Watching a movie and not having thoughts is… inadvisable. I maintain that media is not like poisonous food – if you eat poisonous food it will make you sick, or it will make you die. But consuming potentially poisonous media can’t hurt you as long as you’re actively engaging with it instead of just letting it sink into your brain unchallenged.

That ridiculousness that just happened up there makes it seem like I had major problems with this movie – and I certainly don’t. I’m just needlessly self-righteous about my approach to watching movies. And now that it’s said, let’s talk. Continue reading “The Jungle Book”

Rumours and Riddles: Two Types of Antisocial Cat Personalities

We have been a cat foster home since August, 2015, and in that time we have seen many good felines come and go – the most charming of which were Rumour and Riddle.

We don’t say that lightly. We have had a lot of funny, gorgeous, quirky cats in our home, but R&R win for Most Charming Kittens Ever. We think the two of them would make AMAZING protagonists for a new animated movie about a pair of orphaned kitten brothers with extra toes. (Are you listening, Disney?)

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Riddle and Rumour, in the later days

R&R were our first experience with a pair of littermates, and since then, we’ve unofficially created 2 definite Cat Types, which has helped us socialize fractious cats with differing needs.

The Rumour/Riddle Pair Dynamic

Though we don’t necessarily agree with the usual assumption that every feline relationship has a “dominant” and a “submissive”, we do recognize that cat relationships are complex and impossible for humans to understand at a glance. That was why it took us weeks to realize that in this pair, Rumour was the one in charge.

The thing that threw us off is that good old inclination to assume that extroversion = confidence. Susan Cain would be so disappointed. But when we walked into the room, Rumour would burrow into the furniture and stare up at us with big, sad, scared eyes. Riddle would dance around our feet, looking for a fight and a toy and basically excited about whatever we had to offer, even if it was a blood test or liquid antibiotics.

So how do we know Rumour was in charge? First of all, he ate more. Riddle would scarf down his food while we were in the room, while Rumour slowly crept his way out of his hiding place, hesitant to come within petting reach of us. But we know from our spy cam that when we left the room, Rumour took over the eating, and guarded the bowls from his brother. You could see it in their sizes, too – the larger kitten is usually the bully.

We’ve noticed this pattern many times since. An unsocialized cat who is reserved, stays hidden, and shuts down on contact seems to be a bit of a bully to other cats, when humans are taken out of the equation. We’ve chalked this up to confidence – an insecure cat who isn’t sure he’ll be allowed to eat is more likely to get over his fear and approach the humans, the providers, in order to get an edge on his companion.

While this certainly isn’t all there is to a cat pair, and every cat pair is different, this distinction has been helpful to us in figuring out how to handle the two distinct types of fractious behaviour that these two displayed.

Rumours

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Lucas hiding behind the computer monitors

There are a few characteristics that lead us to believe one of our fosters is a Rumour:

  • Can be touched when cornered in a small space, such as a cage or a teeny tiny hiding spot they’ve found.
  • Excessive hissing
  • “Shutting down” on human contact – allowing you to handle them
  • Refusing to eat in the presence of humans
  • Willing to close their eyes, as long as humans aren’t in petting reach – but won’t sleep
  • Hesitant to move at all – stays in one safe spot regardless of what happens, unless flushed out by force
  • Silence
  • LOVE hiding under beds, behind couches, inside furniture, or anywhere else where reaching them is hindered

These all sound incredibly depressing. And they are. But one upside to a Rumour type is that you can actually handle them, as a result of their paralyzing fear of humanity. And as they get used to being pet, they may begin purring, and ease back on the otherwise nonstop hissing they do (though that depends on the cat).

A couple of tips if you happen to have a Rumour in your life:

  • Keep Rumours in an isolation room. You’ll lose them, otherwise. We lost the original Rumour many times in our isolation room, since he had torn open the lining of the futon and crawled inside. He also hid behind three’s Income Tax Act to great success.
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We even missed him back here at first. He’s good.

  • When they are holed up, sit near them and pet their backs (their faces may be too much too soon). Back off if they become visibly distressed, but don’t go far – when they realize it’s not dangerous, their distress will very. slowly. decrease
  • If you flush a Rumour out of her hiding spot, she will panic and scramble – stay back and give her space to calm down. Allow her to find a new safe place and keep your distance. (It sounds mean, but sometimes their hiding spots are dangerous or inconvenient, and you have to relocate them!)
  • When your Rumour has his eyes trained on you, take note of what makes his ears prick and his neck crane. Whether it’s treats, regular meals, or a certain type of toy, that will be the key to easing the cat out of the safe place. If it’s food, for example, put the food down and sit a few feet away, still and quiet, not meeting his eyes. Eventually, with patience, maybe on the second or third try, he will give in to his obsession and come creeping out to get the food.
  • When the cat advances, DO NOT SCARE HER. Just stay quiet and reward her trust in you by not proving her wrong. Remember, fractious cats don’t find your voice or hands comforting. Basically, repress all instincts to love the cat and let her eat in peace.
  • Once that step is complete, begin using the cat’s motivation, whether it’s food or play, to interact with him. Play with more involved toys, or pet his back while he eats. Yes, he’ll hate it at first, but over time he will learn not to cringe quite so violently at your touch, and it will be awesome.

Riddles

We recognize Riddles based on the following:

  • Unable to hide as a result of extreme curiosity – Riddles can often be found poking their heads out from under a couch to identify a sound or a smell.
  • Constantly on the move – even when they lie down, they are ready to spring into action at any given second
  • Never closing their eyes, not even to blink
  • Aggressive play, especially with distance toys at first, like throwing a ball or using a laser pointer – graduating to wand toys
  • Over time, Riddles will begin following you around and constantly being underfoot
  • Crying, trilling, howling. All brands of cat sound, other than purring. (It takes wild cats a long time to learn how to speak, so if you’ve adopted or fostered a cat who was picked up as a stray, you won’t hear them for a while)
  • Visible attempts to drag Rumours out to play with them
  • You find yourself wondering what the cat’s fur feels like because you have never, ever touched him
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Missy, unable to suppress her curiosity

In general, we feel better about Riddles because they aren’t as sad and scared as Rumours. But despite their efforts to interact with humans, they are incredibly jumpy, squirmy, and practiced escape artists. While it’s easy-ish to get a Rumour to sit and endure some pets, a Riddle won’t even let you get within arm’s reach before racing around the room in a panic. And in the case of a foster cat, it’s going to be difficult to get these guys adopted, because people will HATE the fact that they can’t pet them, so it’s important to focus efforts on that.

Here are some things that have worked for us:

  • Play, a lot. Riddles love to play and will start to forget you’re scary when that blood lust is ringing in their ears (we assume). When they’re in vicious killer mode, they’ll even jump over you or brush past you to land the kill. Then they’ll look sheepish and run away, but it’s still a victory.
  • Riddles are insecure, in our experience, so they will want to be fed and will eat in front of you. Sit by them and make them endure some petting while they gorge themselves. They’ll be pissed, and they will cringe violently at your touch, but over time they’ll ease into it, especially if they have a bossy littermate looking to steal their meal
  • When you catch a Riddle with her eyes trained on your highlighter (true story) or something else you’re doing that she’s really excited about, use it to coax her near. Don’t make eye contact, just carry on, and in her entrancement she may accidentally come closer than she meant to.

 

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Really exciting highlighting going on in Riddle’s eyeline.

  • Let them get bored, so they lie down, for once. We’ve found that they like to chill out near us, so they don’t miss anything fun, so if you sit quietly on the couch, they may even lie down next to you. Out of reach, but every step counts!
  • Hold treats in your palm (once they learn that treats are awesome. Some cats have never had them.) You’ll be surprised at the guts these cats have when a treat is on the line. Stay still and wait, and don’t give in to their sad, beggar eyes. They will eventually give up and take it from your hand, which is both really cute and an important trust step.

Progress

As both types of cat progress, they begin to meet somewhere in the middle as your standard house cat personality. Rumours begin to play more and feel more comfortable prowling the house. Riddles learn to chill out and hopefully even allow you to pet them. Towards the end of our time with the original R&R, they were out and about all the time, lazing near us and begrudgingly allowing us to pet them while they ate their meals.

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Let’s just say Rumour got WORSE at hiding.

Although it’s helpful to categorize behaviours to figure out what to do when your cat is knocking photos off the wall or cowering under a towel in the corner, the most important thing to do is read their reactions and their progress to figure out how far you can push them – handling a feral domestic cat too much too soon is dangerous for both of you, and will hurt the cat’s chances at having a good domestic life. Err on the side of caution, always. The best way to make a fractious cat come around is to be patient, and give them time.

Other Rumours of ours: Lucas, Paisley, Demitri

Other Riddles of ours: Missy, Deniro

 

Lingering Questions about Ice Age

Netflix is not working on our blu ray player, and the DVD in the slot is Ice Age. So we’ve watched it 5 times in the past week, and we have some questions.

  1. Why do animals in Ice Age know that they are in an ice age?
  2. Why are they aware of other phenomena such as extinction and evolution?
  3. Why did this movie portray the dodo extinction as being entirely the dodo’s own fault, and, like, thousands of years before European colonialism?
  4. Why is Sid the giant sloth relatively small?
    ground-sloth-size-comparison
  5. Shouldn’t Diego be a lot bigger than he and the other sabre tooths are in this movie? (And – shouldn’t he actually be smaller than Sid?)
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But those aren’t the important questions. We have but two of those.

Continue reading “Lingering Questions about Ice Age”

The Last Four Books I’ve Read, In Order of How Creepy the Love Interests Are

I (three) was recently complaining on Twitter about how I keep finding terrible love interests in adult romance.

Teen lit never gave me this problem. Maybe YA wouldn’t either – I’ll get to that. But for now, all I want to know is, why do adult m/f stories always have such skeevy men in them?

Anyway, I wanted to chat a little bit about the reading I’ve been doing and where they all stand on the skeeviness scale.  Continue reading “The Last Four Books I’ve Read, In Order of How Creepy the Love Interests Are”

The Ethics of the Sun’s Gift

Disney copy

Don’t ask us for sources, but we have a general recollection of people arguing in defense of Mother Gothel’s actions in Tangled by invoking the “it’s not fair that they took that flower and boiled it just to save a monarch” argument. We thought it might be immense fun to use that as a jumping off point to talk about all of the ethical issues of the Sun’s Gift in Tangled that we could think of. Yeeeeey.

Continue reading “The Ethics of the Sun’s Gift”